Students from Harrison Hot Springs elementary spent last Thursday afternoon at Spring Park

Fun finding phytoplankton

Field trip teaches classification of aqua life

Harrison students had a field day combing the Miami slough for miniature life forms last Thursday.

Donning rubber boots, rain coats, small fishing nets and ice cream pails, the Grade 4’s and 5’s took turns navigating the steep narrow paths beside the Fred Hardy Bridge. Gathering in groups around the water’s edge, they carefully scooped up the smallest, most squiggly creatures around.

So small, you’d need a microscope to find them.

From phytoplankton to mayfly larva to teeny-tiny snails, the kids marveled at what they caught.

Some sat in the wet grass, pulling murky water into turkey basters and watching their tiny catch swim around inside. They classified what they found — omnivore, herbivore, carnivore — with the help of this field trip’s hosts, Hope Mountain Centre.

“I got a shrimp!” one student cried.

But the real excitement came when anyone found anything relating to plankton, due to the obvious connection to a certain, evil Spongebob Squarepants character of the same name.

The Hope Mountain Centre has been meeting with Grade 4 and 5 students across School District 78 over the past few weeks, leading the program that includes classroom study and a field trip to identify aquatic life. The program is sponsored by Nestle Waters.

To see more photos from the day, view our “Hope Mountain Centre” album on our Facebook page.